MILWAUKEE — A New York Times bestselling author put out a call to action Wednesday to the Milwaukee community.
Ibram X. Kendi is the author of “How to be an Antiracist.” In a virtual event hosted by the Milwaukee Area Technical College, he spoke about the need to elevate marginalized communities and call out racism when you see it.
“My most urgent call is for each and every one of us to look in our backyard,” said Kendi, “to those organizations, to those groups of people, to those campaigns that are fighting against some of the most vicious forms of inequality and justice and just simply join those people. Support them and donate to those organizations.”
Kendi spoke to MATC faculty and staff, as well as members of the public, as part of MATC’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative. Started in 2019, the DEI Initiative has two primary goals:
- Raise awareness about equity and inclusion, and equity gaps in student outcomes
- Build capacity for equity
According to MATC, its Equity Strategic Plan includes five objectives to meet by 2025:
"It's important to understand the racial makeup of your organization, but it's also important to understand the racial makeup of the people applying for jobs, who are getting interviews, who are getting job offers, who are accepting jobs, who are leaving, who are getting promoted,” said Kendi.
According to MATC, 41% of full-time employees at MATC identify as racially diverse.
And 42% of people in leadership roles identify as racially diverse.
Kendi says if an organization isn’t meeting its goals, it should look internally.
“If overall a particular racial group is underrepresented, you can then understand, okay, where in the pipeline is the problem that needs to be rectified,” says Kendi. “For too long organizations have been blaming people of color in their organization or not in their organization for racial inequities and injustices, as opposed to those organizations own policies and practices."
MATC’s DEI Committee says, "We realize that unless we understand the culture and context of the people who are being disproportionately impacted, we might focus on short- term solutions, overlook root causes, or even cause unintentional harm."
For more information on MATC’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative, click here.